Tag Archives: USA

Dangerous levels of extinction

Bloomberg reported Yesterday that Nicola ‘Sturgeon Sticks with Timing for Scottish Independence Referendum‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-01/sturgeon-sticks-with-timing-for-scottish-independence-referendum), which is a little odd after the previous one not so long ago. As I stated in earlier blogs, I am not against Scottish independence, I think that at the earliest point, Scotland should seek independence. Yet at this point it is not a good idea. The situation has not changed for Scotland, at present their budget is already 11% short and that is with the inclusion of decreasing oil revenues. This means that within 10 years there will be additional problems for Scotland. And this is only the start of their troubles. You see RTE reported only 12 hours ago ‘Spain would not ‘initially’ block Scotland from joining the EU after Brexit‘, the catchword is ‘initially‘, we see the quote “any part of the United Kingdom that becomes a state and wants to join the EU will have to apply. And follow the steps that are stipulated“, this is the part that matters. Basically until Scotland is truly independent there is every chance that Spain would object, and that is just one of the 27 nations. After that when Scotland is independent, the initiation into the EU would start, which could take up another 5 years, perhaps even more. That is the part Scotland faces, so Scotland is facing the consequence of independence, growing a ‘national‘ debt and after that we see the issue that Scotland would be debt driven and getting into the EU, a triple banking issue (debt, interest and inflation levels), all levels that Scotland would need to overcome.

For example, try googling Scotland and economy and see what you get. What economic achievements did Scotland have gained in the last two years? The Financial Times gives us a part I actually do not agree with (at https://www.ft.com/content/7c6f8ca8-0807-11e7-97d1-5e720a26771b) ‘The economic case for an independent Scotland rests on the EU‘, to that the Scottish response should be: ‘the dog’s bollocks they are!‘ In this Scotland needs to grow an economy, so far, as long as Nicola Sturgeon has been in power, not too much has been gained in that department. I am certain that there are options, I even mentioned one in April 2015, (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/04/05/the-labour-manifesto/) where I write “I am still reasonably certain that Indian generic medication could grow all over Europe if they have a foothold in Scotland, which allows easy access to places all over Europe“, so which Scottish politician had actually made any headway into looking beyond the EU, its ECB with big debt credit cards? Because when the credit card stops, Scotland will be in levels of hardship they have not seen before for the longest of times. At that point, who will the Prime Minister be when that happens and where will that person lay the blame?

In the end that is a Scotland that has no chance to build any future at all. How is that a good idea?

So as we see that Scotland is focusing on the USA with the added quote from Bloomberg “She also noted her political differences with President Donald Trump, who owns golf resorts in Scotland. During the election campaign, the Scottish government stripped Trump of his role as business ambassador for the country“, which sounds nice, but how did she fare with Corporate America? Scotland might be open for business, but where is the interest in Scotland? How about the Far East? How could Scotland become a hub for places like Indonesia, India, Pakistan and China? With Beef as an export, why not benefit by creating a European Halal Trade centre in Scotland? With ferries leading to Norway and a growing Muslim population, there are options, it only requires the right politician to open certain doors. I am not saying this is a solution, I am merely showing that options are there, the right people only need to look into the right direction. Because, as I see it, relying on the USA and ECB grants will not work, not whilst Europe is in the state it currently is. With Italy set to grow no more than 0.9%, its position is weaker than France and its youth unemployment still stands at 38%, implying that Italy’s infrastructure will remain under harsh levels of duress for several more years. The quote “Italy’s chronically low growth, low inflation and gigantic public debt burden (133% of GDP) make a potentially deadly trio” gives us even more to worry about (source: the economist), with the UK having triggered Article 50, France elections still having the consequence of a Frexit signal and Italy under the duress it is in, the European Union will only have Germany to be the large positive impact player on its economy and that one is not faring too well either. So this is the moment Nicola Sturgeon want to enter the EU whilst going independent? It is not just a bad plan, with a non-closing budget she will be drowning Scotland into debt and this debt will grow and grow leaving Scotland with no options for any future at all.

Yet we could go with the definition of Sturgeon that she is honouring. I cannot state whether this is the same for both Prime Ministers and fish, yet the International Union for Conservation of Nature gave us: “According to the IUCN, over 85% of sturgeon species are classified as at ‘risk of extinction’“, which is a large group that Nicola Sturgeon seems to be happy to join, the sad part is that she would like the whole of Scotland to join her in this, which is really not a good idea, or fair on the population of Scotland.

 

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The failure of a current generation

If we look at the failures that we have seen going all the way back to the 80’s, there is a growing concern that the United Nations might be the biggest failure of all. Before I go into the deeper more complex parts, let’s take a look at some of these failures, whilst we need to realise that other optional successes have no impact at all.

June 2016, it might be one of the few times where the existence of a whistle-blower was essential. Anders Kompass, director of field operations at the UN human rights office in Geneva was suspended because he became the whistle-blower on exposing the sexual abuse of children in the Central African Republic (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/un-aid-worker-suspended-leaking-report-child-abuse-french-troops-car). A man suspended whilst elements in the United Nations were on an eager path to distort the truth. The Deutsche Welle (at http://www.dw.com/en/bolkovac-un-tries-to-cover-up-peacekeeper-sex-abuse-scandal/a-19082815) gives us: “continued scandals surrounding the UN botched, covert and now overt, attempts to remove, terminate and discredit those who blow the whistle on their deeds. The terms cover-up and whistle-blower are common within the walls of the United Nations and peacekeeping missions“, in addition we see “The cases involved the officers from many foreign countries, including the USA, Pakistan, Germany, Romania, Ukraine, government contractors, and local organized criminals. The human rights investigators were never allowed to fully investigate, the suspects were immediately removed from the mission or transferred to other missions“. When we look at the French side we see: “A statement from the defence ministry said the government “was made aware at the end of July 2014 by the UN’s high commission for human rights of accusations by children that they had been sexually abused by French soldiers.” An investigation was opened shortly after by Paris prosecutors, it said. “The defence ministry has taken and will take the necessary measures to allow the truth to be found,” the statement added. “If the facts are proven, the strongest penalties will be imposed on those responsible for what would be an intolerable attack on soldiers’ values.”“, the issue now remains that as far as published there have been no convictions, no prosecutions have been completed after nearly 4.5 years.

March 2011, an armed conflict rises in Syria, within a year this conflict goes out of control and Syria becomes a nation where extermination and mass slaughter are the foundations of what should laughingly be regarded as Arab Spring. Syria becomes a cesspool for growing extremists and terrorists. The UN influence to broker anything substantial is set to 0%, as Syria does not have the massive resources the rich nations need, Syria is seemingly isolated so it can kill all opposition until the population becomes zero.  As the participating nations reach 45, we see that no actual incursion is ever made by NATO. Both are afraid of a new Vietnam and with the USA being pretty much bankrupt, no military activities on the ground will be possible. The failure of the United Nations grows and grows and reaches new heights (or is that a new extreme lows?) on 21st August 2013, when a chemical attack hits the Ghouta region of the Damascus countryside. In addition, on several occasions, some as recent as February 2017, the Syrian government forces have been using coordinated Chlorine strikes in a strategy to retake Aleppo. There have been no UN sanctions as Russia and China voted against these resolutions, making the United Nations the joke it has been for far too long.

So far, from these two events alone, the UN shows to be a talk, talk and no action operation that is costing the nations of the world billions, whilst nothing comes from it. The UN only has itself to thank for its own failure to get anything done. It might be not too diplomatic, yet when I see quotes like “worst man-made disaster since World War II” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein seems to be stating the obvious that nobody will fix or act against. I wonder, if these ‘talks’ would have been happening in World War 2, how many nations would now have German as their national language? Do not think I am joking, because the evidence clearly shows that if the UK did not start its offensive against Germany in September 1st, 1939 (together with France mind you), Germany would have been able to complete several lines of defence that would have made Normandy no longer an option. In addition, the Battles of Salerno and Hürtgen Forest would have gone very differently. With limited losses in Hürtgen Forest, the Germans would have been able to counter much stronger in the Battle of the Bulge, making that victory as such a debatable point. These elements show just how cheap talk would have been and as such, a United Nations that has been regarded as talk only and no actions, the existence of the United Nations becomes more and more a point of debate. Even when we try to find what the UN costs the people we find next to no clear information in the Media, the UN gives us ‘Assessment of Member States’ contributions to the United Nations regular budget for the year 2017‘, with the United States paying $610,836,578 (22%), this is excluding the peacekeepers of course. Yet, when we see the UK paying $112,569,794 (4%), we need to wonder where this all is spend on, especially when we see ‘Credit from staff assessment‘, which in case of the UK is $11 million. The Netherlands at 1.4% has a $41,148,173 contribution, minus the $ 3,767,838 ‘Credit from staff assessment‘. So is it any wonder that every party wants to talk until the seas are dry? I cannot state that this shows the inaction of the United Nations to act, but we can wonder how Syria can act with “the Syrian Foreign Ministry sent two letters to the UN Secretary-General and the Director of the UN Security Council about what it defines as “Israeli aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic in outrageous defiance of international law, UN resolutions, the sovereignty of Syria and the ban on the attacking its lands.”“, this whilst no one in the UN is achieving anything regarding the use of Chemical weapons by the Syrian government on civilian populated areas. After 6 years, the war gets messier and the failing of the United Nations more and more clear. At present there are 11 million displaced Syrians. The information becomes a larger issue when we consider the Jordan Times (at http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/jordan-second-largest-refugee-host-worldwide-%E2%80%94-unhcr), they give us “Of all countries, Turkey sheltered the greatest number of refugees, hosting 2.8 million by mid-2016. It was followed by Pakistan (1.6 million), Lebanon (1 million), Iran (978,000), Ethiopia (742,700), Jordan (691,800), Kenya (523,500), Uganda (512,600), Germany (478,600) and Chad (386,100)“, which is largely confirmed. You see the part that is not confirmed is “UNHCR reported that there are 4,289,994 Syrian “persons of concern” of whom 630,776 are registered as refugees in Jordan. There are about 1.4 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, only 20 percent are living in the Za’atari, Marjeeb al-Fahood, Cyber City and Al-Azraq refugee camps“, this implies that Jordan is dealing with 800,000 floating refugees. Yet the Refugee Fact Sheet, (at http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/JordanFactSheetFebruary2017-FINAL.pdf) gives us: “the population of concern, A total of 728,955 individuals“, so there are numbers out there and all over the place. To some extent it is set to the different moment of measuring, yet some of the numbers are way too far of several marks. The question becomes what has the United Nations achieved in protecting and tracking these people over the last three years? This as well as the blunders we see in Greece, (source: the Guardian) we get “the $803m total represents the most expensive humanitarian response in history. On the basis that the money was spent on responding to the needs of all 1.03 million people who have entered Greece since 2015, the cost per beneficiary would be $780 per refugee. However, the bulk of these funds was used to address the needs of at least 57,000 people stranded in Greece after the closure of the borders on 9 March 2016, and on this basis the cost per beneficiary is $14,088“, we are looking at staggering amounts where 70% is basically wasted, down the toilet as some would state. In addition we get: “The decision by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to classify the situation in Greece as an emergency turned what had been a backwater posting into a major placement almost overnight. An office with a dozen staff who had previously spent much of their time overseeing contract workers assisting the Greek asylum service expanded rapidly. The UNHCR team in Greece expanded to 600 people across 12 offices. Roughly one-third of the workforce were international staff“, I wonder with a Greek unemployment rate why this was necessary. I have been to UN and SC sites, so I know that some functions need to be international for a few reasons, yet with the number as high as 34% beckons the question why not give Greek youth the chance to intern, make some money and get experience? We all knew that this was not going to be a short term issue and at present, if the Turkish deal falls through, there is every rick that some places will have border people sleeping round the clock as 200,000 refugees try their options going into Greece. So this situation is not over by long shot. It is in that part where I would opt that Vasilis Kikilias and Giannis Panousis fumbled a few of their own balls whilst being in charge of the Ministers of Public Order and Citizen Protection. It is not clear what mess they left for Panagiotis Kouroumblis to look at, but I reckon that there are a few issues that up to today are still not dealt with (I apologise if I am wrong), yet with the imminent risk of 200K more mouths to feed, pressures will only increase and that is right on the eve of the French elections where Marine Le Pen can claim ‘We are about to get hundreds of thousands of more refugees and security risks, what will Emmanuel Macron do?‘, if she gets to ask that question loud enough, Macron would sit with a non-response as the French Infrastructure might be in a much better place than Greece is, but such an overload of people is not something that they can easily deal with. Even as this group needs to get via several nations, if they get the jump from Greece to Italy, it will soon be game set and lost match to Emmanuel Macron. Oh, and that is before this pressure hits Italy in addition in more than one way, time will tell what it starts. Yet, most can agree that several issues will go from bad to worse in a very short amount of time.

All these events show the bitter disappointment that the people have started to realise that the United Nations has become. Like the EEC councils, the UN is seen too much as an optional gravy train where people network 7 figure positions whilst they facilitate for whatever needs to be done. These are not my own words, these are thoughts that come from a legion of blogging sites, newspapers and information sites. The UN seems to have lost too large an amount of cohesion with reality.

Another part that we see in Greece, again from the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/09/how-greece-fumbled-refugee-crisis), is seen in “But in the last couple of years Greek migration officials have had access to one of the largest money pots administered by the European Commission, the aforementioned AMIF and ISF funds. These funds are relatively complicated to access. They are arranged in seven-year programmes, commencing in 2014, and required Greece to set up a managing authority and develop a strategic plan. When Syriza took office it found little of this groundwork had been done by the previous conservative administration“, which shows us that Greece had a separate option to resolve a few thousand jobs with added opportunity to overhaul their registrations systems, whilst the United Nations would foot the bill for up to 500 million. So optional Greek industry that could grow to some extent as an identification template would be introduced. Now, this is not the easiest task or given that it would be a success, but it was an option for a larger seat at the table at the UNHCR, this is just one of the elements where I stated that some of the gentlemen fumbled the ball.

All this and Rock and Roll too?

That is the matter we are with now, because as the larger players have been questioning their contributions (the USA most loudly), so how is this about the UN and not the nations I mentioned? That is actually easier to state. You see as the UN representatives kept on talking, no one decided to take charge and as such, the discussions continue as no actual victories are achieved. A large slice of the Syrian population has been witness to that, in addition, so are the victims of sexual abuse through inaction by the United Nations.

Any organisation, especially the size of the United Nations, will have its issues and its barriers, yet, the inactions to the size we currently see is a new low for the UN. The allowance for vetos, opposition, especially when it goes at the expense of human lives it becomes the debate whether the UN has anything left to offer, you only need to ask any Syrian refugee to hear clear doubt, especially after 6 years of too little actions and for the most no solutions. We as a global population have failed these victims who turned to us for help in the most disgraceful of ways.

 

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Retrenching under false pretence

Today we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/01/len-mccluskey-ford-unite-tariff-free-single-market-access-bridgend), how Ford is moving its needs and its projections towards other places. It fill the pattern and projected promise that have been set in motion a few years ago. The US is moving parts back to the US and some parts to Asia. Australia had been feeling this for some time. Ford left Australia in 2016 when in October the last Falcon XR6 came of the belt. Now we see the beginning of their exodus from the UK and in this the title ‘Unite blames Brexit as Ford prepares to cut 1,160 Welsh jobs‘ is as they call it, a total load of bullocks! You see, this is the other side of a one market and tariff free access. You see, as these costs fall away, making these 4 wheeled thingamajigs in America becomes profitable again. Now, let’s be fair, Ford is an American company. For American companies to move back to their home turf makes sense, it could even be seen as patriotic. But in all this, Ford remains a business. So they need profit to soar and that can be done by having their factories in America and Asia. Brexit was never a factor, Australia never had a Brexit.

Is there a chance that Brexit was any factor? I do not believe so, the UK is not yet in a completed Brexit and it would take a few years before all would be complete, so there is no Issue for Ford, in their camp it was already planned, the entire pressure on Brexit is just tactics, because the US is scared of what comes next, so for the US, in light of the upcoming French elections, the anti-Brexit pressures are essential. The game is changing in France. President Francois Hollande is not seeking a second term, according to the BBC the first French president to do this in modern times (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39130072), he is that unpopular and as such France is seeing several different issues and power plays in place. With one in four under-25’s is unemployed. So even as all parties agree that massive changes are needed, the Socialist failure gives rise to additional voices moving towards Front National. In all this, we see additional moves. We could even consider that this is a partial discriminatory ruling. The EU claims to be all about the freedom of speech and freedom of opinion, yet they will happily lift parliamentary immunity for the French prosecution to take legal action. We can argue the validity here in two ways. One: Marine Le Pen did break French law. Two: how many other French people have been prosecuted for ‘publishing violent images’? I would really like to see the numbers on that one. So as we will see big data mining on transgressors, I wonder how many have not been investigated, which shows that the EU is very willing to upset the sanctity of a fair election, especially as those deciding on this are likely to lose their jobs when Frexit becomes a reality.

So as we see through the (what I personally regard to be) blatant lies by Ford, or better stated by Len McCluskey, and in this as Ford is not forthcoming they get to be tainted by the very same lie. The quote “UK’s biggest trade union has urged Theresa May to guarantee car makers tariff-free access to the single market“, in this I would state ‘Mr McCluskey, are you usually just facilitating for big business?‘, you see, as I see it, Ford is using Len McCluskey not for the plant, not for the single market access ‘need’. No, they want to sweeten the deal! They need other concessions, like the ones they had in Australia. ABC Australia (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-17/tax-transparency-report/7036708) gave the people a Tax Transparency report. Where: FORD MOTOR COMPANY OF AUSTRALIA LTD, had a Total income ($) of 2,940,670,099 (so basically almost $3 Billion), a Taxable income ($) of a mere 7,057,051. This means that 99.9917% of the income did not need to be taxed. So as we see: Tax payable, Tax payable as percentage of total income, as well as Tax payable as percentage of taxable income. These numbers become zero (that means $0.00 and 0.00%). So is Len McCluskey going to open his eyes? Is he going to realise that he is made the bitch of big business that requires the UK government to give away taxable income in the form of free labour? Perhaps Len McCluskey remembers what slave labour is? All valid questions, more important, if this is the path Ford wants, why not let then fuck off to merry old America? Let’s be fair and honest. America is in dire need of actual jobs and an actual economy. They are bleeding currency value and as such, if American companies decide to retrench in the US to save their home country, than that should be regarded as a noble action. Yet, these companies are run by boards that have one need, dividend and bonuses. Let’s also be honest here, these people don’t make any massive coin, not compared to a few other fortune 500 companies. The top executives, have an income ranging from $5.2M to $17.7M, which in Wall Street terms might be laughingly little, yet the retrenching has the danger of those people losing 28%-42% of what they are getting now. You see, as the US has a collapsing infrastructure, the strain the US is getting by having these manufacturers move back to the US is going to cause a few infrastructural gaskets to blow. It will not happen overnight, but within 24 months they setbacks will hurt Ford, there is no doubt in my mind on that. The level of setback will be anyone’s guess, I do not have any wisdom that could state to any degree of certainty how much the impact is. Yet, when you consider that Ford is working on a 3.9% operating margin (2014 reported numbers) and they walked away from an Australian 99.9917% non-taxation, we should wonder on how they tend to do economically more terrific in the US. It seems to me that the US retrenching has either massive kickbacks, or will come at the consequence of short sightedness and long term hardship. The numbers do not makes sense to walk away from either, but the clarity is that fingering Brexit was not the reason. But then, Ford did not do that, they got

Len McCluskey to do just that. It is the part “McCluskey also demanded that Ford provide “legally binding guarantees” of future production at the plant”. It made me giggle. You see if they had not before, why would they do that now? It seems to me that McCluskey, not unlike Kim Carr in Australia, was either in on part of it for a time, or I need to consider them both to be massively incompetent. A legal binding guarantee after the fact. It is just too hilarious! Of course, when the issue collapses and Ford moves, then we get the real issue, because at that point the blame game starts. In Australia, Kim Carr got to play his game and got the reprieve, so when his labour team got replaced by the Australian Liberal Party (the Aussie Tories), he stood back and got to stand playing with his beard thinking ‘not my problem anymore!‘, yet Len McCluskey does not get to be this lucky, when Ford leaves it will be on his plate and the Unite members will have a massive amount of questions, I wonder how many actual answers Len McCluskey will have.

So all these revelations and facts brought to you because someone decided to blame Brexit and I have actually had enough of those blamers. The fact is that there would always be consequences to Brexit, so when I see another ‘bremainer’ demand a Brexit without consequences, I wonder just how stupid some people tend to get. Another side linked to this is seen in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-will-not-contribute-to-eu-budget-if-no-brexit-deal-is-reached-says-lords-report-a7609526.html), here we see ‘Britain will not contribute £50bn to EU budget if no Brexit deal is reached, says Lords report‘, the subtitle is even more descriptive ‘The UK appears to have a strong legal position in respect of the EU budget post-Brexit and this provides important context to the Article 50 negotiations‘. The reason to go here is seen in “According to the Lords, EU budget payments – likely to be a contentious issue throughout the Article 50 negotiating period – would not be enforceable and the UK would be in a “strong” legal position to not pay a penny if talks ended with no deal“, so all the hard play we have seen has been absent of a proper analyses of the articles, something the House of Lords was not about to let go. The quote “Theresa May has warned her European allies that the UK is prepared to crash out of the EU if no reasonable Brexit deal is agreed on. In this case, the Lords add, Britain will not be liable to make any further financial contributions to the budget” also implies that there is a two stream issue within the conservatives. You see, when we see the quote of Theresa May against “David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, said earlier this year that the Government would not rule out making future payments to the EU’s budget in order to secure favourable access to Europe’s markets“. The two streams are ‘let’s be flexible about it all‘ and ‘we have had enough of this‘. The point being that large corporations have been souring the cream pushing European politicians to take emotional stands whilst others are trying to muzzle Mario Draghi and his need to spend a trillion no one has. This now pushes back to the Automotives of the land (including the exiting Ford), I think we need to see that the approach that has been used for too long a time, making some industries holy and non-taxed is not the way to go. Now, there are plenty of people who want certain markets to push forward and to have trade deals in place tends to be a good thing. Yet the part that the media seems to ignore again and again is that these deals benefit large corporations to a massive degree, but others tend to fall between the cracks losing out on all those fringe benefits. It is an injustice that has been seen several times and Brexit would allow for a change that gives a level of fairness to it all (allow does not mean it will happen though). So whilst we can agree that there would possibly be an impact, there are still too many waters stirring, so any level of Brexit blame is very premature. That evidence is given additional support when we consider Reuters news from 2015 (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-ford-asia-idUSKBN0O625Y20150521), it was already forecasted 2 years ago that “When I take a look at Ford’s growth over the next five to 10 years, we believe roughly 60 percent of the growth will be in the Asia Pacific region,” said Dave Schoch, president of Ford’s Asia Pacific region“, which was the first sign that the Ford plants in Australia were at risk. In equal measure, the slowing economy in China saw Ford sales drop, a similar event has been happening in Europe, where the drop is three times higher and here we get the issue. It had a rise for a while and the European numbers looked really good, that is, until you realise that Russia was the only strong contributor to the Ford sales. Yet the Russian slump has been in play and it is now also hurting Ford, whilst the news of ‘rapid recovery unlikely‘ to be at the head of the forecasting table. So when we see Ford media give us (at https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/feu/en/news/2017/01/18/ford_s-european-sales-rise-5–in-2016–strong-ford-transit–rang.pdf), “Ford sales rise 5 percent in 2016 to nearly 1.4 million vehicles in its 20 traditional European markets*“, with the reference to Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland.

Giving us now the one part that the papers were missing. The fact that the sales are not sliding, but the revenue is set to better profitability, in that the element becomes that the UK is only one of 20 nations for Ford and when we add the Ford Authority quote to it from February 20thIn all, the closures terminated nearly 6,000 jobs, although some number of those were merely shifted to lower-cost countries like Spain and Turkey“, as well as “Ford Europe has continued to pare down its workforce, offering “voluntary separation” packages to some 10,000 employees since early last year to help save an estimated $200 million annually” a valid tactical move by Ford going back to well before 2015. So as we see this facts, the entire Ford issue has been playing for a while and a lot of it has been out in the open. So at this point I would ask Len McCluskey where he got the idea “workers had been “kept in the dark”“. I would like to know what actions he had undertaken since December 2015 when this was already underway, more important, the move in Australia should have really woken him up. Did it do that? Because certain facts, clearly given by several sources, some of them openly Ford themselves. It is there where we now see a reason to doubt the existence of both Kim Carr and Len McCluskey (but that is just my view on the matter). Len had the option of making a clear speech to the workers in wales starting by ‘the party is over, there will be massive changes in the future, but we do not know the exact setting, but the worst case scenario is that the plant will seize to exist‘. Did he make that speech? I reckon not, most people like that tend to avoid bad news, especially when events like Brexit can be blamed and that is exactly what he did in the end.

As a final point I need to refer to the quote “We have had, as I said, dialogue with Ford. We will continue to have a regular dialogue with Ford about the ways in which government can help to make sure that this success continues“, which was exactly was happening in Australia, with the happy ending not becoming a reality. There, certain players decided to blame the newly elected liberal government, whilst we clearly see that there is plenty of evidence that Ford had already decided, and the decision was ‘vacate!’

I wonder what McCluskey does next, perhaps blame the Welsh weather?

 

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Pimping the United States

I initially expected the USA to do stupid things, but this has got to be the most stupid of them all. As the talks are now increasing regarding the acts of dismantling the Dodd-Frank Act, we see the greedy banks walking out into the open making claims he will break the moment the ears of the listeners are out of range. Marcus Stanley from the Americans for Financial Reform stated: “We had experience with Wall Street self-regulation prior to the financial crisis, and it did not work out well,” Stanley said. “When you let industry determine its own rules, it’s going to create more risks. The downside of those risks is going to be pushed to taxpayers and working families”, (at https://www.publicintegrity.org/2017/02/01/20645/trump-wall-street-and-banking-caucus-ready-rip-apart-dodd-frank). The problem is that like the journalists in the Leveson trial, these two groups who proclaimed that they could self-regulate, have never been able to do so, greed gets in the way every single time.

If there is an upside, then it will be that the next financial event will have one enormous difference, the moment the US people see that their quality of life returns to a 2009 state, there will be 170-205 million people unanimously agreeing that the President of the United States is to be assassinated, moreover, when that angry mob runs to Washington, the army will not intervene as they will have been hit just as hard as well as their family members. So at that point the Secret Service will need to protect an idiot, whilst they have less than 1% of the ammunition required to stop that angry mob. Good luck to them I say!

qnbIn addition, the bankers who are behind the next collapse will end up being the most wanted man by the American people in history. They will flee to whatever nation they can afford, whilst channeling their wealth to places where the US treasury cannot get at it, so Riyadh might end up being the place of choice for American wealth. American bankers who did not oppose the Travel ban of 7 Muslim nations will be totally dependent on the goodness of another Muslim nation to keep their ill-gotten gains safe, the Irony is just staggering!

But is my prediction over the top? Let’s take a look!

 

 

The financial times (at https://www.ft.com/content/dd4a6698-efe7-11e6-930f-061b01e23655) gives us “Loan growth remains robust,” said Marianne Lake, his counterpart at JPMorgan Chase, while presenting record annual net income of $24.7bn last month. Beyond the headlines, there are signs that certain segments have been squeezed. In products such as credit cards and personal loans, for example, analysts say activity has been damped by fear of censure by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau“, so as certain people see and feel the fear of prosecution through ‘fear of censure by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’ we see that this group of financial people have the inherent need for growth and the need for unadulterated bonuses. I will not be able to tell whether this is due to unreasonable revenue per deadline, or just the need to get to the revenue any way possible, unreasonable or not. That is what happened before and messing with Dodd-Frank makes that danger very realistic. In addition, with the US in 20 trillion debt, the next meltdown cannot be covered by the US and in addition, it is my firm believe that the IMF should not be allowed to intervene or hand any bail outs when this happens.

The second part of that is seen in: “In residential mortgages, too, banks and lobby groups complain about the new requirement to determine that the consumer has a “reasonable ability” to repay the loan, based on credit history, income, obligations, debt-to-income ratio, employment status and other information. That has caused a pile-up of paperwork“, The fact that banks are now ‘bitching‘ regarding ‘paperwork‘ to ‘reasonable assure the ability to repay the loan‘ gives rise to even more questions, especially as the need for these answers are needed on a global scale, the fact that we see complaints that seems to indicate that banks just want to hand out cash without clear setting of accountability. In that same article, when we read the part from Laurie Goodman “warranties they need to make to Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage buyer, and the high cost of servicing delinquent loans, among other factors. None of that was in Dodd-Frank“, so if that was not in Dodd-Frank, then why is it an issue?

This issue as you might expect it goes far beyond the Financial Times. There we read from Jonathan Westin the quote “Trump rolled out an executive order to cut Dodd-Frank, and to get rid of regulation that would protect against a financial crisis like the last time“, which gives the first clear indicator that I am stating could be the start for the first Presidential man hunt in American history. The fact that we see (at http://nypost.com/2017/02/12/battle-looms-as-trump-regime-looks-to-gut-dodd-frank/) “a 22,000-page document, could see the abolition of the ban on proprietary trading at Wall Street banks and on predatory lending” gives a clear indication that banks like Sleaze, Succumb & Snatch will be able to get back into business using Tele Marketing schemes to get people to sign up, they only have to be willing to grab those customers by the pony. Is that what America will amount to? I think that the world would be better of having Wall Street regulated by Mosseck Fonseca, who were only out to captivate the rich, because in both cases the IRS will lose out and they will lose out by a lot.

As far as I personally see it, there is a danger with some of this. One of them involve proprietary trading. The dangers is that with proprietary trading, desks were often considered internal hedge funds within the bank, performing in isolation away from client-flow traders. Yet, the danger comes when third party ‘assistants‘ runs between other ‘assistants‘. The first article gave us that with “It also would repeal Dodd-Frank’s Volcker Rule, which now prohibits banks with access to the Federal Deposit Insurance Fund from making certain risky investments“, where we see the part where Volcker also wanted to stop banks using privileged access to ‘cheap’ central bank financing offering PhD models to play the markets for personal gain. Now that model could change through the deployment of ‘disrupters‘ and ‘spark plugs‘ who will set their own circles getting people to stem the revolting tide or support waves of exploitation. Rings within rings, a chosen few to be the supporting role of the market players. It will unhinge the markets and the people at present would have no defence being in any market whilst they are around. It is like playing against the bank, who is the active gambler. Smaller players would have no chance at all, a market that would become less and less stable in a time where the US has absolutely no way of stemming the losses when they hit.

So like Adolf Hitler, Trump promised prosperity, but prosperity for whom? More important, at what expense? When the former German ruler did it, those people all got jobs, in the military industry. Trump has decided to open the financial industry sluices, yet that direction tends to only open the bowels for financial people which comprises less than 1% of the population there. In addition those profits do not make it to the US treasury, so what game is President Trump playing?

These changes have no ability to correct the economy and the 20 trillion debt is not taken care of, nor will it as things evolve the way they are now. In all this we face tough times and if the Trump administration succeeds in dropping the Dodd-Frank Act the dangers of the collapse of the Dollar is close to a certainty. The dollar going, just to set the need for greed to a previous stage unacceptable need, which will also topple the Euro to an untold low value. There is no way to stop it unless part of the Republican Party realises that undoing certain levels of protection will leave everyone in a dangerous place. This is not just me, there are several newspapers coming to the same conclusion, they just didn’t add the risk assessment of the assassination of President Trump yet (they’ll do that after the act). In that, is my prediction that off? There is a precedent. You see, the Scotsman in March 2009 reported ‘Abused in the streets, their homes under attack, will Edinburgh’s bankers ever be forgiven?‘, where we see “A group calling itself Bank Bosses Are Criminals claimed responsibility for the attack on Goodwin’s home and in a statement to the Edinburgh Evening News said: “This is just the beginning … We are angry that rich people, like him, are paying themselves a huge amount of money and living in luxury, while ordinary people are made unemployed, destitute and homeless” Scotland has a population of 5.2 million. When things went south, well over 55,000 ended up being homeless. That is over 1% of the Scottish population, there was never no homeless people, but that number went through the roof when the 2008 crash landed on the front doors of nearly every bank. So is my prophecy out of bounds, or does it make sense that the next event in the US, could give rise to millions becoming homeless. Where will at that rage be aimed at? I can tell you that it will be a bad day to be a police officer in the New York financial district at that point, not to mention wherever that Trump tower is at. Look at it from the bright side, with every banker executed a new job openings and new housing becomes available. In the end, the aggregated statistics will balance themselves. That event when it happens will also start the selling off of American infrastructure and State assets. The Russian or Chinese could end up buying these services, just like it was done in Greece. In that case, I’m willing to buy the Pentagon Cray Mainframe for $29.95. I’ll pay $50 if they throw in a functional Bell UH-1Y Venom or a Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey.

The things you can get when a financial system gets pimped, life has its upsides for all except the victims of such rash undertakings!

 

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The Turkey shoot

There are these moments when we hear that term, especially in the US in October & November where the American dream for some is a father and son(s) trip get into the wild and shoot one of them Turkeys. It is nothing most of us are used to, but like the foxhunt, there is tradition. I am in favour of the Turkey hunt, because, for one, there are strict limits which usually tends to be 2-3 at the most. Meaning that in this case, the family has thanksgiving and Christmas covered. You see, in that case I am not against hunting.

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There is a wisdom to only shoot what you eat, which in my case is not an option because cannibalism is a crime under the NSW Crimes Act of 1900. Yet in this case it is not about such a Turkey shoot. Today is about Turkey as a nation. This turkey shoot started a few hours ago when (at http://www.businessinsider.com/40-turkish-nato-soldiers-have-requested-asylum-in-germany-2017-1), we saw the change with ‘40 Turkish NATO soldiers have requested asylum in Germany‘, with the quote “About 40 mostly high-ranking Turkish soldiers who worked at NATO facilities in Germany but were suspended after the failed coup in Turkey in July have requested asylum in Germany“, you see, this is a Turkey shoot of another calibre. One where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is continuing the strangest of policies. It is hard to draw and make distinction between what happened and what is publicly stating in Turkey that happened. There is too much going back and forth and unless you are there in Turkey, there is little hope of anyone getting straight facts. The Independent gives us “to establish an all-powerful presidency while seemingly Islamising Turkish society to a degree not seen since the fall of the Ottomans“, yet in all this, the stated quote “the sacking of 8,000 police and 30 governors as well as 52 high ranking civil servants. This is in addition to 70 admirals and generals along with 3,000 soldiers and 2,700 members of the judiciary fired“. This is not just an overhaul this looks like a national change one that is not unlike the changes Saddam Hussein started in 1968, yet in this case it is anything but bloodless and like Sadam Hussein, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also a Sunni Islam, giving us more issues down the line as the ties with Saudi Arabia will strengthen over time. This change will also impact Israel as there is every chance that cultural ties with Israel will dwindle more and more in the same way the cancelled military contracts in 2011 went the way of the Dodo. So as we realise within the quote “This coup may not have been as big as the Government now says it was in order to justify its crack down on all its opponents, but it was still impressively large and was not far from succeeding from seizing power for a few hours on 15 July” that the numbers were not there, yet success was inches away from getting the change made, we can sense the paranoid approach that President Erdogan is setting its mind to. Yet, will he undermine his own presidency? In a country with 79 million people. Its population is only slightly larger, yet land mass wise, it is 350% the size of the UK, giving additional issues over time. Turkey as a secular nation has had a freedom of religion in place, yet when we look at Saudi Arabia, where Muslim law is in place, these elements could fall away from Turkey down the road, which means that two events are likely to start over the next year. The first one will be a shift in investors as they see the investment waters turn muddy and none too friendly. This will in turn escalate a brain drain where the brighter Turkish minds will seek their fortune elsewhere and elsewhere in this case means nearly anywhere but Turkey.

Is this a given?

No, it is not, but overall they are the likely event that will come to places like Istanbul, impeding, if not stopping commerce and the Turkish economy. A massive slowdown will come and the Turkish borders are confronted with more and more radicalisation. On May 1st 2016, in my blog ‘Homerun by UKIP‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/01/homerun-by-ukip/) I gave a link to heavy.com where ISIS was making an appeal to Turkish sympathisers. Heavy.com is showing more and more extreme video’s where ISIS is giving a message of suicide attacks in Mosul, which is not that far from either Syria or Turkey. Three weeks later a similar video on actions in Sinai. There are indication that this level of radicalisation will deliver different flavours of Muslim faith to Turkey, the question becomes how realistic are these dangers? We can agree that there is a long way from Mosul to Istanbul, yet the people in the Istanbul nightclub who saw the attack on New Year’s Eve will not agree with that assessment. Even as many might agree that ISIS does not have the numbers in Istanbul, the 40 high ranking Turkish NATO soldiers are a first indication that as the top of the Turkish military falls away, there will be an increasing amount of chaos and more important a lack of military based support as the people are either not there, or the higher ranking troops require too much confirmation from too many locations before acting, giving ISIS a tactical advantage, in addition to the ones they already had. So as ISIS is inviting its followers to a Turkey shoot, it will be the bird population that will feel a sense of safety and security as they are not the target at that point. If you think I am trying to make a point, I am! The actions that ISIS is showing where people get casually decapitated by knife or by strapped on bomb, we have to wonder one element. You see, The Observer is showing ‘UK’s £100m weapons deal with Turkey ‘turns blind eye to rights abuse’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/28/100m-arms-deal-turkey-blind-eye-rights-abuse), what they are not mentioning is the ever increasing danger that business partner and NATO ‘ally’ will request (read: demand) assistance from its partners when it comes under more direct attack by ISIS. At that point what will happen? When NATO allies are thrown into that extreme mix? The French Legion Etrangere, the UK Marines/SAS and Dutch Marines might be trained up and ready for that fight, the rest of the Eurozone military is unlikely to be ready and partially too inexperienced. In addition, if some remember the January 2016 quote “Dutch police have arrested a former soldier suspected of killing Islamic State (Isis) jihadists while fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria last year, the prosecutor’s office said” (source: the Guardian). We need to consider how the law is impeding the fight on these Jihadists. We can all agree that the rule of law counts and as such it was legally the correct thing to do. Yet as ISIS becomes more aggressive in its inhumane actions, can we afford to remain this ‘legally minded‘ (read: politically correct in a legal way). I am not stating or inviting lawless acts, yet the law has ignored the fact that terrorists utterly ignore rule of law, in that regard, should they receive any consideration? In the view of some, the rights of non-combatants needs to cease in the eyes of prosecution, which in this view evolves as ‘if you go there to ‘hunt’ terrorists you might not be prosecuted, yet in equal measure you have no national protection to call on when things go south!‘, this is one approach and perhaps not the worst one, because when you consider that the Turkish diaspora in the top 5 nations, namely Germany, France, the Netherlands, the USA and Austria surpasses 4 million, most of them having ties of some sort to Turkey, the dangers of anti-Jihadi Turkey shoots in Turkey is not far-fetched. I am willing to go one step further, the amount of people signing up for that event would easily surpass the people who went to Syria to chip in, meaning that the Intelligence services will have an entirely new dimension of issues with radicalised returning veterans giving Europe at large more issues to deal with, that whilst certain logical systems are still not ready for the last three issues that plagued Europe and this too will drive nationalism and Eurozone rejection on larger scales.

In all this, we need to underline one issue in the entire alleged military plotter. the Quote “The German government has expressed alarm about the crackdown on alleged plotters linked to the coup while Turkey has criticised Berlin for failure to extradite alleged terror suspects“, is more than just a small issue (at https://www.thelocal.de/20170128/turkish-nato-soldiers-seek-asylum-in-germany-report), you see, this isn’t opening or closing doors between Germany and Turkey. It is merely handing opportunity to ISIS who will have options to cash in on the tactical advantages Turkey is handing to them. In that, the arrest of an ‘ISIS judge‘ around January 26th, implies that this judge remained around for 3 weeks after the attack, with possible more recruitment drives completed. The fact that his bum storage mobile was caught as well might assist the ISIS hunters (read: although it will be smelly data), the fact that ISIS has some level of organisation running on the European side of Istanbul should be seen as a worry and the current path President Erdogan is on might not be the best option, as it will very likely give way to more radicalisation, a path that ISIS has been exploiting a little too successful lately.

 

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A Syrian Reality

Another day, another mention of Aleppo, Syria and events. Hilary Benn speaks of the shame we all should feel. Yet, here we have an issue. Not with his sentiment, but with the clarity of who or what is in charge. Now that the UN has another meeting, labelled as ’emergency’, it is time for people to realise that labels are no longer things to see You see, CNN states ‘descent into hell‘, I say ‘the reality of choice‘. As we now see that Assad, with Russian aid secures the news like ‘Syrian Government Forces Are Close to Full Liberation of Aleppo City’ and ‘Syrian army gaining control of Aleppo eastern quarters’ we need to realise that America is no longer the leader of the free world, that it is too bankrupt to be calling any shots other than commercial deals (read: trade agreements) to feed its own greed. The fact that Libya has now asked Russia to intervene on its behalf. As General Khalifa Haftar is meeting with Russian minister to seek help, we now all need to realise that we are chasing the consent from an empty bag names America. Only now, well over a year too late are pundits all over the media field considering a change. Those who some consider to be half baked evangelical procrastinators of social sciences are now considering that Frexit ‘might’ happen. The data was clearly there for well over 26 weeks. Just like they were trying to stay buddies with those running the gravy trains, Brexit was ignored for too long and Frexit is very nearly a given next. When you consider the quote two weeks ago in the Guardian “Kenny’s administration in Dublin to strongly back any French attempt to gain more concessions from Brussels to prevent a possible ‘Frexit’“, we can now start quoting South Park (Oh my god, they killed Kenny) whilst Ireland is considering the dangers it is manoeuvring itself in.

What about Syria?

Yes, that is the question, because for the most, no one gives a dams about Syria! This is a harsh reality. When you look at the cold reality for Syria, you will consider that the natural resources of Syria include iron ore, crude oil, phosphate rock, manganese ore, asphalt, marble, rock salt, and gypsum. Most can be gotten in many places, whilst oil value is in the basement and iron ore is in an even worse place. The large corporations do not care for any of these substances, so as such The American Congress is speaking a lot, not saying much and acting even less. The evidence is all around you. This outgoing Democratic failure has done next to nothing substantial. We see mention of weapon support. It is less than it should be and likely done to write off old equipment or get some parties a tax breaks (personal assumption), it never amounted to anything serious. The same could be stated for the United Kingdom, who with the US was involved with Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, because the growth of ISIL is scary for both of them. In my view, if there is any hero to be laureled in this mess than it would be the doctors who despite this level of ignoring are still trying to aspire the best the medical profession has to offer, in my view, most of these doctors are worth of any recognition that equals the Victorian Cross (American equivalent: Medal of Honor).

The grim reality of life set to value is that the morality of the things that President Assad was accused of. Perhaps some people remember how a little over 5 years ago, the unrest of the 2011 Arab Spring escalated to armed conflict after President Bashar al-Assad’s government violently repressed protests calling for his removal. Soon thereafter we had the issue that the government of a sovereign nation retaliated against those who were seeking to overthrow that government. This is the issue, you see, many of these nations had to deal with massive gaps in quality and quantity of life. There was a great deal of dissatisfaction that led to opposition and uprising against these governments and as such things escalated. There have been widely distributed claims that the US government’s support of the uprisings fuelled actions, funded largely by the National Endowment for Democracy (www.ned.org). This in an age where people in non-governmental places seem to think that whatever they do the US government had its back. Yet the outgoing Democratic Party had no money left, even worse, the total national debt is expected to hit 20 trillion just when President-elect Donald Trump gets into office. He gets a building to temporary live in and a debt that will take more than 3 generations to remove. Whatever happens, their choice will be American based, American focussed and there will be no space for any military action of any kind unless it is due to a direct attack on America. In all of this Syria is not mentioned, because for the players at large, it has no value, not the living, the dead or the national resources. For the next 8 years at least there is every indication that Russia will get a near cart blanch to grow its influence and after this December 2016 there is plenty of evidence that this will come with full Syrian backing, and likely Libyan backing too.

So this now ups the ante for Israel and in addition, it will require the allies and friends of Israel to up their game by a lot, because this game implies that the next cold war comes with one player short, an empty intelligence coffer and a much wider supported Russia. I reckon that Alexander Bortnikov will be having some very comfortable lunches with Sergey Lavrov. I can only assume that black bread and borscht will not be on the menu, Pancake! (Internal FSB translation joke).

These events are very much at the core because the US security council has the US and Russia in opposition, so that part is not expected to get into action, the only benefit here is that China could side with US, not because of any Syrian humanitarian need, but if the US gets committed here, the US economic prospects go down further, which would suit China just fine. In my view, if there is anything to be salvaged, than it needs to be Jordan, not Syria. If we actually have any regard for lives, than the support for Jordan, for its infrastructure and resources is essential as it has been trying to give support to 1.4 million refugees (Syrians and officially registered refugees).

Let this sink in readers, we are bickering all over the world on how many refugees we should take and Jordan has added 25% of its entire population from refugees and Syrians. That whilst Jordan has always had a shortage of water and a few other resources. In my view, the actions of King Abdullah II of Jordan seem to me to be more worthy of a Nobel Peace prize a lot more than the one given to President Barack Obama ever was. I am not ignoring the issues at the Jordanian border, the given fact by Al Jazeera et al that there tens of thousands of refugees stuck in no man’s land. Yet Jordan already has 1.4 million, 25% of its entire population, they have done more than most nations have considered. That part, will be opposed and countered by nearly every nation, but that is the grim reality. I feel certain that Jordan was not working with open arms, yet when we see the few thousand that are in Greece (OK, a little over 10% of those in Jordan), the fact that Syrians (as reported by Ekathimerini) have been quoted that compared to life as a refugee in Greece, they would have preferred to have stayed in Syria. Tell me, when a person prefers to take their chances and live in an active war zone, how bad are you as a nation? Now, we can agree that Greece was in a really bad place before the Syrian refugees arrived, so that did not help the Greeks any, also their lack of any infrastructure to deal with these amount of refugees must also be accepted.

In all these matters discussed, big business have remained silent, inert and lacking actual action that make a difference. In addition, as Donald Trump is stated to make a policy change that it will be ‘America First’, which under their economic climate is fair enough, when the dust settles and President Bashar Hafez al-Assad sits on his ‘throne’ as victor, how many nations will move forward trying to do ‘business’ with Syria? How many will enter the quote ‘moving forward’ in their speeches and statements? You see, the reality of any nation has forever been that those with empty coffers do not govern, the US is figuring that out the hard way, because its actions and messages on a global scale are ignored by too many players for it not to be the case. In the end, these trade deals have a one sided benefit for American companies. They would still get to sue other governments, whilst the President-elect is moving towards the tactic of: “Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores“, and here I will be honest, it is pretty much the only option that the US has and no one can fault America for that, just realise that those who would have enacted the TTIP/TPP would have learned the hard way that American corporations would have sued governments for the mere profit of it. That too would bring money to America, and their board of directors. In all this, in light of Brexit/Frexit and now these trade deals, we see a massive lack of national legal protection in these ‘deals’, this whilst these corporations have only consented to continue certain factories when the tax breaks are juicy enough. When that falls away, those claimed economic national benefits fall away too and even today, certain taxations that wold have been seen as fair as those places took away billions, now that the economic weather changes, nations at large need to consider where to move to next. It is that weather that made me evangelize stronger bonds with the Indian pharmaceutical industry. Most nations have a growing need for generic medication and places like Syria, Jordan and Greece even more. Yet the people who should have realised this seem to be pushing for any pharmaceutical deal with America, whilst the players all know that there will be no local benefit, none at all, so again we see now that the Trump thinks like a business man, which is what the social left is not getting (read: comprehending), whilst they ignored the tax reform essentials, they keep on giving money from empty coffers, that party is over and those not adjusting their view will be in the cold soon enough. This also means that certain values change. This is the grim reality for Syrians, their value is none and have been so for some time. Not on a humanitarian scale, but the nations at large have no funds there, so we see that we turn our backs on a situation we cannot change and we cannot influence, in my personal view, mainly because some lawmakers were asleep at the wheel in setting up trade deals and certain tax loop holes (read: these loopholes were purely incidental and coincidental, not in any way orchestrated). Now we have to choose between economic hardship and humanitarian ‘sound’ suicide, how is that a choice?

So here we are, seeing another iteration of ‘boo hoo hoo’ Syria, we all know it, we all agree and we cannot do anything, mainly because those who could, gave away the keys to the castle and the executive washroom. Those who are now in charge are setting the pace and none of them want a war where they get nothing out of. This is the mere reality of an economic driven political society of elected officials. No monarchy would ever abide by that. Should you see that the Libyan and Syrian deal have no influence, when you hear someone preach just that, and how America will get on top soon enough, also feel free to investigate the connections that are now happening between Egypt and Russia. A new air base on the Mediterranean close to the Libyan border, so as America moved out, Europe is getting surrounded by Russian bases, if we include the now permanent Russian Naval base in Syria. This is why Israel needs to change its game, because it is not outside of the realm of issues that Mossad now needs to refocus their attentions to foreign operations and data gathering. A field that the Russian have been decently good at. They do have one advantage, Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin might be highly intelligent; he lacks experience and is relatively new to the job. If he ends up relying on the heads of Political Intelligence and Illegal Intelligence, the game changes, because those two are not the newbies we would want them to be and the Middle East desk will be the new hot potato for Intelligence Officers with a scent for promotion for at least 5 years (read: Mossad will have to deal with Intelligence ego’s from all over Europe). My weird sense of humour would try to push those two into the marching path of General-Lieutenant Igor Valentinovich Korobov, a proud man and as per 2016 the new head of the GRU, pride is something that often be used against that very same person.

Why mention these matters, what is their impact on Syrian refugees?

No matter what happens in the coming 3 weeks, when the dust settles, most nations would want these refugees to return to Syria, many Syrians want to return to Syria, but that place is in rubble and those people have nothing left. Syria will be a construction heaven for Russian entrepreneurs for decades to come, also meaning that the economic times will change and the Middle East picture we had of it will have changed more than many understand or want to take for granted. The Arab spring will soon be seen as a temporary thing that was not the success people wanted and proclaimed it to be. Some in those fields will object and counter with all kinds of manipulated data, in addition the press will give a few more articles on how the Arab spring was the only way and it was a good way, yet when we see that Russian influence is rising all over the Mediterranean, and now with Morocco raising the tourist numbers for China and Russia, it could be interpreted that a first signal is given to Sergey Lavrov that a conversation of interest is soon to be an option. In my personal view, one of two corridors of travel for ISIS ends up being in Russian hands. If not correctly countered we will see a radically shifted view of northern Africa with America no longer being any form of player there. This also reflects on Syria, because these nations will allow Russia to set up an empty trade house where they are merely the middle man in commerce between Syrians and Northern African partners, so suddenly there will be large economic growth (moving from zero that will always be the case) and it will push a shift in other ways too. It is the Grim reality we face, because the actual culprit was greed and we have seen how both America and the European Economic Community was unwilling and unable to act against it, which is why we will only see a stronger push for Frexit and Brexit. A move that scares the US, because the Euro and the Dollar are too closely tied and this dissolving action will be seen as the nightmare scenario by the IMF and Wall Street, where the question now becomes: who is speaking for whom?

 

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The cost of free trade

There is a side in me that is a little beyond angry. When I see these politicians whine like little bitches on how good ‘Free Trade‘ is, on how it is so good for all. I wonder if they remember the days when slavery was an actual solution for commerce. How these people look and praise Chiwetel Ejiofor (aka Baron Mordo) for playing a slave in ‘12 years a slave’. When we see “Mexico, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore aim to continue with TPP with or without the United States, Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said on Friday” (Source: SBS), we need to wonder on how the TPP is seen as anything but evil, a mere apparatus of convenience for large corporations to keep a stranglehold on those around them and to minimise the number of opportunities for smaller businesses.

The Evidence?

The Economic Policy Institute gives us: “This paper does not include an exhaustive review but cites as an example Capaldo, Izurieta, and Sundaram (2016), who noted that studies claiming that the TPP would have a positive impact on the U.S. and global economy are based on unrealistic assumptions, including no change in the U.S. trade balance with the TPP countries and full employment“, which is only the top of the iceberg. You see, in addition we have “Currency manipulation is the most important cause of the large and growing U.S. goods trade deficit with the group of countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Coupled with the fact that the United States is the largest and most reliable trading partner for many of the TPP countries, this is a recipe for U.S. pain at others’ gain“. This is not the USA, it would also hit Australia in other ways, not the people who secretly arranged all that they get top dollar in a few other ways. Yet, before we move on, let’s take one more part, because that will have connecting issues. The quote “Many members of the proposed TPP, including Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan, are known currency manipulators. Others, namely Vietnam, appear to be following the lead of currency manipulators by, for example, acquiring excess foreign exchange reserves to depress the value of their currency. Currency manipulation explains a substantial share of the large, persistent U.S. trade deficit with the 11 other TPP countries that has not only cost millions of U.S. jobs but also increased income inequality and put downward pressure on American wages“, and although this paper focuses on US consequences, it will in addition have a speculative negative impact on Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The Dutch Financial Times (at https://fd.nl/economie-politiek/1176922/tpp-opzegging-holt-voorbeeldfunctievs-uit) gives us: “Donald Trump heeft de wereld deze week een belangrijke boodschap gegeven. Door te stellen dat hij de Verenigde Staten op de eerste dag van zijn presidentschap terug zal trekken uit het Pacifische vrijhandelsverdrag TPP, geeft hij het signaal af dat hij de relaties met andere landen puur vanuit de blik van een zakenman zal zien. Hij wil bilateraal met landen gaan onderhandelen ‘over eerlijke handelsafspraken die ertoe leiden dat banen en industrieën terugkeren naar Amerika’. Internationale relaties moeten voordelig zijn; anders hoeft het niet“, which paraphrased gives us: “Donald Trump will be withdrawing from the TPP on day one of his presidency. He will be looking at relationships with other countries from a business point of view, international relations need to be advantageous, or need not be“. Is that a bad thing? You see for exploiters it is, which gives us the Malayan Times (at http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/tpp-aint-over-till-its-over-firdaos-rosli). Last week they had the headline ‘TPP ain’t over till it’s over‘, the article is a decent legal view of getting the TPP ratified, which only gives additional cause for concern in a few ways, yet that is not the issue for now. The one quote at the end that matters is “The government must proceed with its top-down reforms agenda and these are direly required to make Malaysia great again” This is fair enough on one side, Malayans are there to make Malaysia strong, there is no cause more just, yet in what ways are they doing this?

This is where the other side gets to show us the dangers. You see the headline ‘Malaysia workers speak of their despair: ‘Samsung only knows how to take’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/nov/21/malaysia-workers-speak-of-their-despair-samsung-only-knows-how-to-take), shows that large corporations are at the heart of the problem. Tax shelters, exploitation and what cannot be seen as anything else than intentional slavery are at the heart of the matter. The Samsung Port Klang factory as mentioned shows how Samsung is growing its business by massively reducing costs whilst maximising customer exploitation at almost the same time.

When we see “In total, Bhandari says he paid £750 to secure his job in Malaysia – more than the average annual salary in his home district” as well as “There are an estimated 2.1 million documented migrant workers like Bhandari in Malaysia, many of them hired through third-party labour supply companies who recruit foreign workers from Nepal, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh to drive Malaysia’s industrial boom“. Implying that Samsung has no HR to speak of, it is arranged through third party affairs that are buttering their bread on both sides of the isle with a labour population in slavery. So when we rethink the Malayan Times with ‘TPP ain’t over till it’s over‘, we get that they (those making the profits) need the TPP, because slaves tend to be free (read: really cheap) and too many people seem to be filling their pockets in a few ways. So when you see “Now he’s in Malaysia, Bhandari’s recruitment debt – and the 60% interest loan he took to pay it – has a stranglehold on the teenager“, you know that this is how slavery is created and how it is maintained. Not through shackles that bind you, but debts that stop you from moving and breathing. I reckon that the old southern ‘solution’ was a lot more humane. At least you knew that there was slavery, now the boat load of governments remain in denial and the large corporations can claim to remain negligently unaware. Which of the two is the larger hypocrite remains to be seen. The fact that Australia signed this, whilst they had to be aware that this was happening to some degree is an issue on many fronts, not just the slavery part, but the fact that the TPP has the largest option of being a negative influence. You see, those who had walked away wanted to do so via the TPP, there is absolutely no guarantee that whilst in the TPP jobs are not lost to areas where labour laws are a lot more flexible.

Consider the quote “Many of the group now want to leave, if only they could. They say their passports were all confiscated on arrival in the country, an illegal but pervasive practice, and they have been told they will have to pay £740 if they want to go – the equivalent of four months’ basic salary“, which translates to a little over 4 weeks of Australian welfare. Which in light of “A Samsung statement said: “As a committed member of the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), we comply fully with the EICC’s Code of Conduct and have found no evidence of violations in the hiring process of migrant workers hired directly by our manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Once there is any complaint, we take swift actions to investigate” as well as “When asked whether Samsung had repaid any worker debts at the factory, one man employed directly by Samsung instead of through a labour supply company says he hasn’t received any compensation. “Samsung doesn’t know how to give,” he says. “It only knows how to take.”” which to some degree shows that not only is Samsung not doing too much about it, it is also intent towards reaping the benefit of these trade deals for as long as they can. More important, even though Samsung is the visible one, the fact that from several sources we see “Malaysia’s trade volume is booming“, implies that there are other brands exploiting this way of cutting costs. So from that part, the evidence that Slave labour is again a ‘valid’ form of cost cutting towards commerce is given.

Should any government object that I reckon it is time that clear labour requirements are added to the TPP, I wonder how many would suddenly oppose such actions, because as I see it it is clear that Japan and USA, the two direct requirements for the TPP would not oppose it, unless Sony decides that their margins would dwindle, but that is just pure speculation from my side.

What to do?

Well, I do not think it is too far-fetched that those linked to these unacceptable labour practices are required to have a specific import license for their good, which is at a price, FTA or not! I wonder what will happen when Samsung gets a 23% surcharge on slave labour goods import. Will that suddenly make them see the light? I do not mind if they decide to make them in Malaysia, but I reckon we all agree that these workers are due decent pay and no slave labour conditions. At that point, when the margins are hit, how good was the TPP and how beneficial were factories in Asia? I do not proclaim to have the answer, I am merely asking the question. When slavery is dealt with, we will suddenly see that there is no benefit in some of these places and that other places like Argentina, Texas, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the UK and Belgium are decent places where goods can be produced whilst the company still has a margin. And perhaps there is no need for a $229 Samsung Microwave when a $129 Sharp version would suffice. So, a $100 more expensive whilst ‘depending’ on slave labour (to at least some degree), seems odd doesn’t it?

Consider: “it promised only £268 a month, including overtime“, whilst “a payslip seen by the Guardian shows Bhandari worked 29 out of 30 days in September, including 65 hours of overtime“, so we get 65 hours a slave every month and an income of £9.20 a day, which amounts to 25% of what you get in Australian Centrelink and the cost of living in Sydney is actually high. So the next time you see those Samsung advertisements, consider that they can afford these billboards thanks to slave labour. Look at your Samsung phone and admire how you got that great deal, if you are lucky only one person literally worked himself/herself to death to make you one. Feel better now?

It is also important to realise that Samsung is not alone here, one firm does not make for “Malaysia’s trade volume is booming“, it takes a lot more than one firm and if only Samsung was involved, those people would apply for every other place on day two of their arrival. This makes the issue a lot larger and this also makes the unbalanced use of what we now laughingly call ‘Free Trade Agreements‘. So when we get another load of Bill Shorten and how the TPP isn’t costing jobs, we see a clear case that the man needed to be tarred, feathered and walked through George Street whilst a person behind him clanks the bell shouting ‘Shame!‘ It might be a little too much Game of Thrones, yet in that place they are only now abolishing slavery on the East side of that place (read: Essos), in addition, Malcom Turnbull is not free of any moral harm either. The fact that the TPP was supposed to implement stronger protections and the fact that Malaysia is still very much on the TPP ball, whilst as the Guardian shows, that what amounts to Slave labour is still going strong to me implies that those involved have either loop holes in place or that there are alternative options for those enjoying the fruits of their exploitation.

You see, the TPP Labour summary gives us: “In addition to commitments by Parties to eliminate forced labor in their own countries, the Labor chapter includes commitments to discourage importation of goods that are produced by forced labor or that contain inputs produced by forced labor, regardless of whether the source country is a TPP country“, this implies that those involved at Samsung have either a Chinese wall in place or a system of deniability. The fact that The Guardian received evidence (payslips) and had testimonials of multiple workers should suffice as evidence.

The fact that Huawei has the option to expose issues with Samsung, whilst not seeming to act, gives also pause for concern. China is not part of the TPP, it is trying to seal its own trade agreement. Even though we have no evidence on how China works in certain matters, the existence of China’s State Owned Enterprise’s (SOE) is another circle of issues and it will be so for both Australia and New Zealand, yet to what extent cannot be stated by me (read: ignorant of such levels of government rules). In that regard Huawei might have an unfair advantage (read: when compared to Samsung) and of course, Huawei could impact the booming Mobile business Australia has (read: Exchange rate of sarcasm towards giggles). As many see that China has been non-enthusiastic when it comes to dealing with corruption, the shown evidence gives us that several other nations aren’t that much better and corporate greed tends to trump government requirements. So there!

No matter how we slice it, the trade agreements only truly benefit large corporations and no one else, which is an issue on a few fronts and in that President Elect Donald Trump might be the clearest American patriot when he states “international relations need to be advantageous, or need not be“, for the simple truth is that for the most and agreement signed that was not advantageous was an agreement best not signed at all.

 

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